Monday, December 15, 2008

Blessed In A Scared World

During rough times I've often found myself asking for God's blessing upon me and the family. What else would I do? What should I do? Usually, that's my first course of action.

Sometimes I have to wonder why it is that God doesn't bless me during the trial's of life. When I look at my children, there is no single thing that I want to do more than bless them in some fashion. I often wonder about God though...why is it that he doesn't hear me?

Other times I have felt when God has blessed us. It is always right in front of my eyes. Bang! You're blessed! Is it that sometimes I'm just not being good? I don't deserve to be blessed? Then I look at my children and again, I always want to bless them. What gives?

When I take the time to put on my retrospective lenses, there is always one activity that is going on when I/we are being blessed. You can probably guess what it is...

There have been times in my life when I have not asked for God's blessing, but rather, his allowance. I cannot see anyone suffering without having this deep need to help. It is in these times that I simply ask him to let me help, and he does. It would totally amaze you at what all God has allowed this family to do when in the service of serving society. Not just Christian's, but any of God's creation.

He has allowed us to literally feed thousand's, to see physical healing of the body, and a whole plethora of other things that without him would be impossible.

It is during these times that our problems just seem to melt away. Fear evaporates as peace and security run in. There is no time for worry, and the grind of living becomes a race into meaning and reason. In these times, we know that we were created for more than just existing.

These days we are living in are certainly not the easiest of times to live in. Many are simply trying to endure while other people are hiding and hoping that somehow they will be spared. To be honest, I sometimes on want to hide away and let the shadow pass. But I am not happy when in hiding and denial just seems to push me further back into the cave, which means that it will take longer to find my way back into the sunlight.

It's time for me to get proactive. Time to live my confidence in God, and time to ask for and accept his allowance. Time to shake off the stress and uncertainty and live a life of impact.

What say you?

If you want to be right...Do Right!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm a Single Parent

Single parent...SINGLE PARENT...I'm a single parent who's married to another single parent who has biologically shared children.
It seems like every time I read about someone having hard times, there's always a single parent involved. When someone has made it big, again, "single parent raised me" and it's almost always the mother.
I think it's getting to be the standard. Something to be proud of.
Personally I don't get it. There was a time when it was not a good thing to be considered a single parent. It usually meant that the "mom" married bad or got pregnant out of wedlock. It surely was no thing to be proud of, and I think there is no virtue to be found in being a "single parent".
Back in my day (a hundred years ago...the dark ages) it was a shame to be found pregnant out of wedlock. Likewise, having to admit that you married a drunk, wife beater, cheater, etc., was no thing to speak of publicly. It was the kind of thing people whispered about. The single parent would get "the look". You know it...kind of a sideways glance and neither the single parent or the one looking down their nose would make eye contact. At best, it was a very nervous situation.
Now get me right here. I am casting no stones and truly do appreciate a single person choosing to birth their child and raise it. If you find yourself in that situation...I say bully for you!
But (<--big but), I do not advise any to take to this lifestyle with a casual attitude. If you find yourself in this situation for whatever reason, take responsibility and do the right thing. Raise your child and go on with life. If though you choose this lifestyle, don't expect to be treated special for it.
There was a time when the family would take the single parent back into the original family and raise the child within their community of family. There was no expectation of society to pay for someones lack of discretion. The point is that having a child meant that two people were united in marriage as a family and the child was a natural progression of this union. It was a blessing and a strengthening of the marriage bond. It was this same blessing that strengthened society.
Today you can find all kinds of social commendation's for the single parent. Society gives support specifically to the single parent. Government supports the single parent, and in this, our tax money goes to pay for a poor marriage choice or indiscretion. Is this right?
When I decided to get smart a few years back and go to college I was big into scholarships. The problem was that I was a middle aged married man with children. Times were tough for us because we didn't have work, but had kid's; ask me sometimes about stress when you have tried to do everything right and things just don't seem to work. What I did find was an abundance of scholarship opportunities specifically for the single parent; more specifically the unwed mother. This angered me and I decided to apply anyway. It was required that you submit an essay about the trials of being an unwed mother and how you would overcome them.
I thought on it for some time then finally sit down and began writing. I wrote about all the dreams I had when I first married. I told of all the things I promised myself I would do for each child as they were born. How I would be the best father I could. I then went on to tell how life just didn't work. How times got hard and how me and the good wife resolved to move on in spite of it all. I told how I felt I had failed my family as a father, but, could never allow my children to be raised in a single parent household. It was tough, but we had resolve. I told how easy it would have been to just walk away from all the troubles I was enduring. I told of how I could never do that because of my responsibility to my wife and children. I explained my upbringing in a house that valued every aspect of family life. I wrote that despite the outcome of the scholarship, it would do nothing to affect my choice of where my family would find me standing. I then issued a challenge to the scholarship committee to support someone choosing to be right despite the hardship it was sure to deliver.
I won the single parent scholarship as a single parent, devoted to another single parent, with biologically shared offspring.
My whole point with this post is to encourage people to stand for what is right and good. Do support the single parent who is fighting to raise their child. BUT (<--big red but) don't encourage it. Do all you can to lead one into the natural progression of family. If you are a parent of a single parent, commit to your child and help raise this grandchild. After all you are the one who raised this child and are charged to stand behind who they become.
When you are raising your children, show them some statistics. Show them how a large majority of people in prison were raised by a single parent, which is most often the mother.
If you are a man who has joined with a woman and created a child, then be the man. Be a part of raising "YOUR" child. If you are practicing your part in fertilizing an egg, then realize that you are doing this with some other man's daughter...then think of what you would do to some man who was "practicing" on your daughter! I promise you this. There is no person who knows me who doesn't know how much I love my wife and children, and to what length I will go to protect them. Be the MAN!
If you are a woman who is participating in the process of practicing conception, then realize how hard life will be if you do become pregnant before you are in a situation to start a family. Never trust a man who says he'll be there. Know he'll be there because you are bound with him as husband and wife.
There are a few exceptions.
  • Rape. No reason for it. I once came upon a man trying to rape a woman I worked with. He was waiting in her car with a butcher knife and was going to get what he wanted one way or the other. In short, I busted up my wrist trying to convince him how he had made a bad decision. No person deserves this violation and I DO take a stand. No exception
  • Bad marriage? Before you ever consider marrying, take the time to know who you are marrying. Watch this person in good and bad times alike. You will find that a person usually enhances their attitude and demeanor as they age. If they are not a person you know 100% for sure that you want to be with in hard times, then run.
  • Something happens. When I was ran over by a car, the recovery and rehab was long and extreme. In the process I went through frustration over not being able to walk. The pain med's changed personality in a bad way and depression was a killer. In short, I became a very bad person to be married to. I was just plain old mean. In working with disabled people I had seen this kind of thing end many a marriage. Sometimes health, or the lack of, makes for a tough marriage. This was the case for my wife. Here's what she did. She stayed and towed the line when I couldn't. She pushed me through my troubles and stayed committed to her vow. It wasn't easy, but she did it anyway. There is no person I love more than her because I know that she will give her all for me, and today I am truly married to my best friend.
I take the time to say all this because I know how hard life can be. I know that sometimes life is cold and more often than not, it's unfair.
I also want to say that if you are the child of a single parent, don't handicap them, but rather, uplift them. Don't tell everyone that you were raised by a single parent (you are saying that you either had a bad dad/mom, or you were an accident). Instead tell everyone how your mother/father raised you and that they are the most committed and loving person you know and leave it at that. Whatever happened is the business of no other person. Tie them to you in a positive manner.
I'm sure this will make somebody mad....tell me about it. Joust with me and you'll find me a fair person to deal with.